Ashland School District will be spared from budget cuts this year, due to the apparent passage of Measures 66 and 67 Tuesday night, the superintendent said.

Ashland School District will be spared from budget cuts this year, due to the apparent passage of Measures 66 and 67 Tuesday night, the superintendent said.

"This is very, very good news," Superintedent Juli Di Chiro said as the election results came in. "What it says is that we should be funded at the level that we have budgeted at."

If the measures failed, state budget cuts could have left the district with $1.3 million less in funding, Di Chiro said. That could have meant laying off about 18 teachers or having about 18 furlough days, or some combination of the two, she said.

School Board Vice-Chairwoman Heidi Parker said Ashland students will benefit from the passage of the measures.

"The effects for Ashland kids are tremendous," she said. "This means that we won't have to make further cuts this year, so class sizes won't get larger and we won't have to cut days."

Rep. Peter Buckley said the apparent passage of the measures will allow Ashland school officials to move forward with the current budget.

"I'm ecstatic at the moment," Buckley, an Ashland democrat, said after The Oregonian called the election at about 8:15 p.m.

"For Ashland schools this means we can hold our school district intact. Now at least we have some stability and the district can plan without the fear of the bottom dropping out again."

Although unofficial results show the measures passed by a wide margin statewide, the measures were defeated in Jackson County, according to early results. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, Measure 66 was failing by about 53 percent in the county and Measure 67 by about 54 percent, according to the Jackson County Elections Office.

County officials had about 3,000 votes left to count as of that time — not enough to sway the countywide results significantly, according to Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker.

About 58 percent of registered voters in the county cast a ballot in the election, according to the elections office.

Opponents of the measures said the passage will hurt Ashland businesses and could result in layoffs.

"It's really a shame," said former Mayor Alan DeBoer, owner of TC Chevy in Ashland and the Historic Ashland Armory. "I think you can almost guarantee this will mean job losses, but unfortunately if it's not your job, it's easy to vote 'yes.'"

DeBoer said the measures will affect his business.

"It'll definitely hurt me," he said. "Especially because it's a business that's already struggling: the car business."

The passage of the measures will ensure funding not only for schools, but for health and human services, including those that provide assistance to hundreds of disabled people in Jackson County, said Corrine Vieville, executive director of the Ashland-based Disabled United in Direct Empowerment.

"It means that the level of services that they have right now won't be cut further," she said. "People will be able to stay in their homes and have home health care and heath care workers. We won't be looking at such a bleak picture."

Parker, who spent hours canvassing Ashland neighborhoods and calling voters to drum up support for the measures, said she felt her hard work had paid off.

"I'm really relieved we don't have to make more cuts because the cuts before were so devastating and the class sizes have gotten so large," she said.

Dozens of teachers and other district workers were laid off earlier this year as administrators grappled with declining state funds for education due to the recession. The district's $22 million budget for this school year is 15 percent lower than the previous year's.

Although the measures appeared to have passed Tuesday night, Buckley said the state's budget woes are not over.

"We have a way to move forward now, but we still have a long way to go to get out of this recession," he said.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.